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Your guide to Indian food – local cuisine

Your guide to Indian food – local cuisine

India, a country with 28 states, 8 Union territories, home to more than one billion people, has been a land of religious and cultural diversity for thousands of years. Food is no exception when it comes to diversity and has evolved over the years. Indian cuisine, originally (and is still, in some parts of India) is to be eaten socially, in groups, until everyone is fully satisfied. You will be served all your courses at once on a plate of food called a thali.

Indian food has been influenced by Mongolian, Persian and Chinese cuisine, among others. The common thread throughout the centuries remains the spices. It is a lot about whole spices that enhance the flavour to a great extent.  The secret why Indian foods are mostly loved by many is the pairing of contrasting ingredients. Since India is a large country, its dishes are also divided and have a wide variety.

Some popular dishes which are almost synonymous to India

Talking of all four directions in India, food choices vary drastically. Indians from the North eat flat breads like chapati and naan, while Southern Indians prefer to eat rice and coconut. The versatile coconut not only provides milk, but it also thickens stews, makes a chewy snack and is used in making many sweet southern dishes as an ingredient or as a garnish. Western India is more cosmopolitan, but is known for its traditional spicy curries. Mumbai, formerly Bombay, at the heart of the region, has its local favourite and an evergreen snack called Vada Pao. Poha (puffed rice) is also something that Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh loves. Seafood and curries, hot and spicy sausages and snacks with tea are popular traditional fare. East Indian food relies heavily on rice, milk and vegetables, prepared simply with yogurt, seeds and spices steamed and curried. Delhi is known for its street food. It goes big on stuffed paratha, chaat, dahi bhalle, bhel poori, sev poori, gol gappa (water balls) or also known as Puchka in Kolkata. Here you will see a natural bias toward tandoori chicken, butter chicken and kebabs.

There has been science behind every recipe or ayurvedic logics that have been suiting an Indian appetite and body form. For e.g. If Andhra food (Andhra Pradesh is an Indian state) is super spicy, they add curd rice as the last bit to neutralize the chilli factor. On that note, it’d be interesting to know that in Northeast of India – Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, you will find the hottest chilli pepper known as Bhut Jolokia or the ghost pepper.

Talk of some of our welcome drinks – nothing beats the Indian Chai tea. We have butter milk, shikanji or neembu paani (lemonade), coconut water and rasam as some of the other regional welcome drinks.

Indian food has evolved over the years and is now known world over for its use of spices and subtle play of flavours. Supporting this, these three restaurants in India made it to Asia’s 50 best restaurants list 2023, by Conde Nast Traveller –

Avartana, Chennai (this restaurant is in the venue hotel, ITC Grand Chola)
Indian Accent, New Delhi and
Masque, Mumbai

Here is a list of 15 best fine dine restaurants from India

  • Amethyst, Chennai
  • The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai
  • 1135 AD, Jaipur
  • 1159 AD, Udaipur
  • Ballygunge Palace, Kolkata
  • Aish, Hyderabad
  • O Pedro, Mumbai
  • The Table, Mumbai
  • Hakassan, Mumbai
  • Olive Qutub, New Delhi
  • Artusi Ristorante, New Delhi
  • Toast & Tonic, Bengaluru
  • The Black Sheep Bistro, Goa
  • A Reverie, Goa
  • Sly Granny, Bengaluru

So, rest assured, that you will find all types of foods, cuisines, tastes and dining experiences during your stay in India.

Our next blog will help you click with People from India. It will be about the famous Indian head nod and our quick communication gestures that make life easy!